Earlier this year I took my little guy to Sarasota Jungle Gardens for their annual Easter Egg Hunt. It had been several years since I’d been there, and I was struck by what a great place it would be to use as a shoot location. Anyone who grew up in Sarasota or Bradenton is familiar with Jungle Gardens, and those who were children here in the 80’s and earlier may closely associate it with their childhood, as back then it was one of the only non-beach kid friendly places around. I have lots of old photos of my mom with her long, straight hair, big sunglasses, short-shorts, and wedges pushing me around the gardens in a beast of a stroller or looking at the flocks of pink flamingos chilling on one leg near the water. There’s even an old newspaper clipping from The Sarasota Herald Tribune with 3 year old me holding a giant parrot on my arm. The best thing about Jungle Gardens is that it really hasn’t changed since those days. It still retains that kitschy mid-century Old Florida vibe. When I was thinking of locations to use for Abi and Spencer’s engagement session, I knew I wanted to do something a little different with this gorgeous, fun couple, and I knew they were up for anything. Sure enough, when I suggested Jungle Gardens, Abi was on board. Despite the intense heat and humidity that day, we sweat through it and had a great time. My favorite shots are the goofy ones of Abi and Spencer sitting on the legendary concrete alligator (that photo is a must have for every visit!), and having a popcorn war at the cute little Flamingo Cafe. While glancing at my screen, my daughter reminded me of the time we saw a straying flamingo walking right out of the cafe like it was totally normal. I’m so happy we got to step back into our childhoods for this shoot, and I am so excited for Abi and Spencer’s Phillippi Estate wedding coming up this winter – and for the much better weather we will have for that!